Finding Community Contributes to Achieving Weight Loss Goals

By: Guest Blogger Laura Kinart

Hello everyone!!!!  Who is Laura Kinart?  Great question, sometimes I still don’t know  =)

I am a 32 year old mom of two and wife to one.  I was an athlete growing up; I danced, played soccer and also played softball.  I was always pretty thin and healthy at a weight of 125-135 throughout my high school years.  Then I went to college, and decided I didn’t want to play sports anymore and I stopped taking dance classes as well.  But I still wanted to be thin, so instead of eating healthy and going to the free gym that UW-Parkside had right there in my dorm, I started to follow some unhealthy diets.  My junior year in college I began the year being pretty much anorexic, I lost a lot of weight and went from a size 8 to a size 4 because I basically didn’t eat.  I didn’t want to “work” at losing weight so I just decided not to intake any calories.  At my sisters college graduation my mom took me aside and told me I was too thin (because while a size 4 might look great on some women, it made me look sick).  From that point on I knew I needed to eat.

But instead of adapting to a healthy lifestyle yet again, I just thought I needed to eat.  I was terrified to look sick again, so I ate, and ate…and ate.  In the period of about 3 years I went from 140lbs to 230lbs.  Then from 2007-2009 I had two babies and went up to my highest weight of 264, wearing a size 20 that was really too tight because I just wouldn’t buy a size 22.  I lived at that weight and size for about a year.

Then in 2010, I saw a picture of myself.  I was sitting there at 264lbs and felt horrible!  So I started working out and I was doing interval classes 2-3 times a week for about six months, but only lost 5lbs during that time.  That is when I realized that my problem was not burning the calories off….but bringing them in.  I wasn’t realizing how many calories I was really eating and why.

In August of 2010, I started working with a Personal Trainer and he had me doing some amazing workouts and watching what I was eating.  And then while I was running up a hill, I rolled my ankle and re-tore a ligament in it. I had lost 25lbs in two months and after I was injured, I gained 5lbs back.

In December 2010, I realized that if I didn’t figure out why I was the weight I was, I was going to die before I turned 60.  I wouldn’t be a grandma, or a great-grandma, heck I might even miss my kids’ weddings or college graduations. That was NOT okay with me. 

So I sat down and talked it out with myself, my husband and my sister.  I was completely honest with not only my family, but more importantly….myself.   That is when I realized that I have an addiction to food.  I love it too much!  I rely on it to help me when I am having a bad day…or a good day.  I use it in my life in so many more ways than just nutrition and that is when I decided I needed to tackle my addiction.  Watching shows on TV about drug addiction, I realized that the way I felt about food was the same way those people felt about cocaine or heroin; and it honestly scared me.

So I knew I needed to do something, and the only thing that I could think of was Weight Watchers.  I didn’t want a plan or diet that gave me the food to eat, because that wasn’t going to teach me a darn thing.  And on 1/11/11, with my sister as my partner, I started weight watchers to help me focus on the food and it has taught me so many things! I started 2011 in a XXL and finished in a medium!  I started 2011 at 244lbs (after losing 20lbs) and am now 189lbs!

I realized that this is going to take some time, I still have 50lbs I would like to lose this year, and that I need to be happy with each station in the process.  Am I at goal yet?  NO, but I am at a size I haven’t been in since 2004!!!!  I have to realize that the process will work if I am honest with myself, and that it isn’t a week to week process, it is much more than that.  And if I have a bad week, or even two in a row, if my average is still a loss, then I am still moving in the right direction. What I learned is that I need to forgive myself if I do indulge in something!  Because I cannot and will not be perfect 100% of the time, and that is okay!!!

This is a struggle, and it is a lifetime process.  But instead of looking at it as a burden, I’ve started looking at it as a blessing, because now I can help people who are in a similar place to where I was just last year.  And that is why I came to 411Fit.  I know I can be a part of a community of people working toward the same goals.  I am here to share my journey with you and hopefully you will share your journey with me.  Just like all the amazing tools within 411Fit to help you track and hold you accountable to your personal goals and progress, I can be a tool to help motivate you to keep it up!

Ready to start your journey with 411Fit? Register today!

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Interview with the Authors: Train Like A Mother

We knew that our friends over at Another Mother Runner had another book due out soon. So, we sat down to talk to them and get their perspective on running, writing and being an active parent! We hope you at 411Fit find some useful pieces of information in their advice and their story.

Want to win a book? We are giving away a copy to one lucky 411Fit winner! Just click the share button on our FB page, or RT on Twitter and we’ll pick a name at random! Check back on FB & Twitter for the lucky winner’s name! You have 48 hours – so share, share, share!

Your second book, Train like a Mother, is due out in March. What is the #1 training tip you can offer to Mom’s out there getting into running?
Commit to a race. When you plunk down your plastic and commit to a goal, it makes getting up in the early mornings—or hitting the treadmill after the kids are asleep—significantly easier. (Notice I didn’t say easy: running isn’t easy—and that’s why the emotional + physical payback is so huge.) And by a race, please know I don’t mean something with the word “marathon” in it. We’re big believers in working your way up the race distance ladder; starting with a 5K, and then moving to 10K, and half-marathon and marathon, if you want.  If you’re an experienced runner, maybe focus on getting a PR in a 5K or 10K. Really racing a shorter distance—pushing yourself as hard as you can—can be much more challenging—and fulfilling—than simply covering the distance of a longer race.

What inspired you to write your books?
Sarah Bowen Shea, my co-author, and I ran the 2007 Nike Women’s Marathon together. We blogged about it and wrote a feature about it for Runner’s World. As we trained, we found this amazing community of running moms that hadn’t really been solidified yet. We wanted to write a book that spoke to them and addressed the many reasons why we run. While the time on the clock is important, so are the emotional and spiritual components of running: time with girlfriends, the confidence and strength it brings to our lives.

When did you start running and what motivated you to do so?
I was a reluctant runner. I mostly started as cross training for rowing—Sarah did the same—and when I moved to New York City, I was broke and had no extra money for a gym fee. But I did live near Central Park, so that became my gym. I watched the NYC Marathon—the first time I’d ever seen a marathon in my life—and couldn’t believe how many different shapes and sizes and paces I saw. One of those ‘if they can do it, so can I‘ moments. Once I became a regular runner, I realized how important the sweat and endorphin rush was for my mental wellbeing. Twenty years into being a runner, it still is.

As a mother, how do you make the time to run?
Wake up early: I’m usually running by 5:30. It’s painful many mornings to get out of bed, but if I don’t go, I usually can find a zillion excuses—some real, some made-up—for not going later in the day. I applaud women who can run after a long day with kids and work, but I’m not that person.

We know that consistency is key. What do you do on days when you just don’t feel like running?
Four words: Don’t think, just go. Honestly, it gets me out of bed nearly every time when I do that. Don’t dwell on it, just put your shoes on and get out the door before you find an excuse. Another strategy I use when I’m lying in bed: I see myself towards the end of my run, when I’ve got 5-10 minutes left and I’m so glad I got up. Wanting that feeling is usually enough to get me moving.

What would you say to Mom’s out there who want to get into running, but just don’t see themselves as a “runner” yet?
Honestly, we think that anybody who gets out there regularly to propel themselves forward faster than a walk is a runner.

Picture c/o: Nicole Morganthau

How can people find you online? In stores?
Anothermotherrunner.com
Our FB page: http://www.facebook.com/AnotherMotherRunner
Twitter: @dimityontherun and @sbsontherun
iTunes podcast: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/another-mother-runner-radio/id452025505
We are also on Amazon: Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother.

Can people run with you?
If they want to get up at 5:30 a.m. Kidding, but they can definitely meet us at a bunch of race expos and we’ll happily listen to details of their most recent runs. Here’s a list of where we’ll be this year. http://anothermotherrunner.com/rlam-the-tour/


Want to win a book? We are giving away a copy to one lucky 411Fit winner! Just click the share button on our FB page, or RT on Twitter and we’ll pick a name at random! Check back on FB & Twitter for the lucky winner’s name! You have 48 hours – so share, share, share!

Part 2: Food Journaling Matters A LOT

Weight Loss Unmasked: A five part series looking deeper at why we struggle with losing weight

By: Briana Boehmer

There is that saying…how does it go?  Oh yes, “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”.  Of course, there’s also that little saying “ignorance is bliss,” but I’ll argue there’s nothing “blissful” about living in an unhealthy body.

In an extensive weight loss study, conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, the single greatest factor in weight loss shown by the 1,685 overweight and obese subjects studied was the number of days they logged their food in a journal each week.  Yep, you got it – Journaling was more important than regular meetings or even how overweight a subject was to start.  Subjects that logged their food 6 days per week lost twice as much weight as those who did not keep a food journal.  Certainly we can infer many reasons for this result, but researchers have found we just don’t realize how much we are eating!  Even when asking a degreed health professional or dietician, researchers have found they too underestimate calorie values!

Let me add one more twist:  All calories were not created equal.  Sure, a calorie is a calorie in the strict sense of the energy it contains.  However, how your body processes and utilizes carbohydrates, protein and fat vary greatly.  I will not go into different ways calories were not created equal just yet (you’ll just have to wait for the next installment!), but the point I do want to make now is that journaling will help you better balance the calories you are consuming.  Your body has distinct needs for all three macronutrients based on your own personal health and activity level.  Deficiencies or over consumption of any one macronutrient in many cases can have real consequences.

So what are the keys to journaling?

Consistency – Make it a habit.  You benefit most from journaling when you do it day after day.  An easy way to make it easier on yourself – journal throughout the day!  As soon as you eat something, take note.  411Fit’s mobile site makes logging your nutrition on the fly very easy.

Understanding portion sizes – Start at home by measuring what you are eating so that you have a better understanding of what a cup etc. is.  For a running start on understanding how to identify portion sizes, we like this WebMD interactive portion size plate: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate

Don’t skip “indulgences” – Be honest with what you are eating.  If you have a “bad day” or go out to eat, do your best to write down everything you can.  The only way you learn is through awareness of your habits!

411Fit has worked very hard to create a food journal with a purpose to help with this critical component of healthy lifestyle changes.  When you go into 411Fit you have the ability to set your own personal parameters for calories (weight loss), macronutrients, hydration, exercise, health measurements and goals.  You then have your own personal grade each day that specifically matches what you are doing against what you told the system you WANT to do.  The closer to an A you are, the closer you are to the goals you set in the system.  With regards to journaling your nutrition, the grade alone is an easy way for you to see how “on track” you are.  That is YOUR grade!  Pretty cool stuff if we say so ourselves!

Whether you use a tool like 411Fit or simply a scrap of paper, start journaling what you are eating NOW!  You will be amazed at what this simple act will teach you about your health.

Read Part 1: You Have to EAT to Lose Weight by clicking here.

Part I: You Have To EAT To Lose Weight

Weight Loss Unmasked: A five part series looking deeper at why we struggle with losing weight

By: Briana Boehmer

Photo c/o: Britt Selvitelle

Naturally when I hear most people talk about losing weight the word diet is mentioned in one way or another. Diet by definition assumes restriction of food in some form, which often leads to unfortunate behaviors – namely, not eating sufficient calories and more importantly the nutrients your body needs.

I am forever perplexed over why we work against our body’s natural biology.

Here’s a hard fact: Our body is built to SURVIVE. At the most fundamental level your body does what it does to SURVIVE. Bottom line, there comes a point where the fewer calories you take in the fewer calories your body burns. This is your body’s basic response to survival…in other words; it doesn’t want to starve so it will run on less energy to make the most of the calories it does get. This WILL happen when you hit that “danger point” for YOUR body.

This fact has been studied and studied. In fact, you may have already experienced this phenomena: You’ve been cutting your calorie intake by 500 calories a day so that you lose 1 pound per week (500 calories/day x 7 days = 3,500 calories =1 pound) and at first it worked like a charm but suddenly you hit a plateau and the weight loss is less and less each week. Frustrating isn’t it? The simple and hard fact is, your body is just not built to follow such a simple equation. There are so many more variables to consider.

Bottom line – You have to EAT to lose weight safely and effectively. Not too much and not too little…confusing right? Weight loss is a tricky equation but ultimately there is no magic pill or extreme diet that can replace simple healthy eating at regular intervals that corresponds directly with your personal needs. Because all calories are not created equal (an issue I will discuss in the next part of this series), it is critical that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to do basal metabolic tasks. Add in exercise and personal physiological circumstances and there certainly is a lot to think about. Yes, what AND how much you eat aren’t the only factors!

Current research is telling us the best way to keep the body in an optimal state of metabolic bliss is to eat smaller more frequent “meals” throughout the day. There is research to suggest that even small calorie deficits within a single day may alter our metabolism in ways that have negative effects. While the ultimate goal is for the body to burn stored energy, we have to always keep in mind the fact that we don’t want it to enter starvation mode either.

So now you’re wondering how to strike the perfect balance between calorie consumption and energy expenditure aren’t you? Great! Check back next week for my next installment looking deeper into how to set proper weight loss in motion.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a way to track, check out our nutrition journal at 411.com.

Read Part 2: Food Journaling Matters a LOT by clicking here.

Top 5 Tools Every Personal Trainer Should Have In Their Pocket

By: Briana Boehmer, 411Fit.com

Photo c/o DrJimiGlide

Providing successful fitness programming is not just a matter of dumbbells and crunches.  When we talk about providing a meaningful service to our clients that produces tangible outcomes, personal trainers know it comes down to much, much more.

With the fast paced and ever evolving world of fitness, there is a lot to wade through when it comes to finding the proper tools and resources to effectively work with your clients.  And the truth – it’s only going to get more confusing.  Technology will continue to evolve and research will continue to be done.  Yet there are still “staples” that every personal trainer should have available no matter what new fancy gadget comes to market…here we review the top 5 in no particular order:

Educational Resources

This can come in many forms but having a solid educational foundation you can tap into is extremely important.  As with any industry, you need to keep yourself on top of current research, trends and protocol.  The best way to do this is take advantage of all the continuing education and resources your certifying body provides.  You chose their organization for a reason!  Top on our list: NASM, ACSM and NSCA.


Constant Communication Systems
Now more than ever, your clients are inundated with all sorts of information pertaining to their health and fitness. The more involved you can be in their progress/goals to guide them in the right direction, the better they can navigate on their own when they really need to. Of course we like 411Fit’s Coaching Edition best to track client nutrition/exercise and receive up-to-the-minute alerts and reports on their ups and downs!


Social Support
This has many meanings all tying into the same overreaching concept: people respond to support.  Make sure you have a network of peers within the health/wellness industry that you are constantly learning from and make sure your clients have a network of peers they can relate to as well. Find blogs online that support your own (or your clients) goals such as:

Motivation

Everyone wanes from time to time on his or her motivational level. It’s important to stay upbeat and energetic for your clients. Find articles on the web like, LiveStrong’s How to Motivate Personal Training Clients. Or, hire a personal coach to help you stay motivated. Even a quick google search for motivational quotes, videos or stories can provide a quick uptick in your energy. Don’t forget to keep case studies and testimonials from personal clients to remind you why you do what you do!

Organized Client Tracking/Management

Training clients involves much more than just providing a workout.  It involves periodized, individualized and calculated training with a purpose.  The days of paper logs and spreadsheets have been replaced with robust tools that help you better track and communicate with your client so that you can help them succeed.  One of the many strengths of the 411Fit Coach Edition lies in better client tracking and management.

While the five items above are foundational to creating a meaningful client-trainer relationship and growing your reach, don’t forget the biggest asset you have – YOU.  Make sure that all of the tools above work to create a better platform for YOU to bring your value to your clients, peers and industry.

A Year From Now You’ll Wish You Had Started Today



By: Guest Blogger Mary Moran

I’m thrilled to have been asked to join 411fit.com‘s bloggers and I look forward to helping motivate and inspire YOU because I know that you will do the same for ME!  Together, we can do this! And I can GUARANTEE you that no matter how much you have to lose – whether it’s 10 lbs or 110 lbs – if you start to make small changes in your life today, you’ll be SO glad you did!  Just imagine where YOU could be in just one year from now!

July 2008

For almost my entire adolescent and adult life, I’ve begun each new year saying “I want to lose weight.” I’d try for a month or two but then get frustrated with the process when the weight didn’t come off fast enough, thinking, “This isn’t working!”  I’d end up disappointed with myself, feeling as though I failed…yet again. What I know now, but failed to realize at the time, is that the only “failure” was having given up!  Weight loss is not a race and EVERY ounce lost was a step in the right direction!

I began the journey to re-claim myself in 2009 when I declared it to be “The Year of Me!”  I finally sought help for the extreme upper back pain I’d been dealing with for four years after it had gotten so bad that I was having visions of a wheelchair in my not-so-distant future. I was given a diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome, which is a chronic condition that affects the fascia (the connective tissue covering the muscles) and to help alleviate the pain, I was told I needed to strengthen and stretch my muscles.  Apparently the years of general inactivity and sitting at a desk job had caused weakness.  But deep down I knew what nobody – not even my doctor or physical therapist – was willing to come right out and say… that being 100+ lbs overweight was not helping me.  
In fact, it was hurting me – literally!

August 2010

I started to workout sporadically on my own and then signed up for my (former) company’s wellness plan with Salus, Inc. in Delafield, WI, run by 411fit.com’s own Briana and Michael Boehmer.  I was pushed beyond belief, gained confidence in my abilities and became extremely strong in a relatively short amount of time!  I felt better than ever but despite working out intensely 4-6 days/week, I’d only managed to lose 12 lbs during 2010. It was a loss, but come on…a ONE pound per month average?  With as much as I was working out, it should have been coming off MUCH faster.  Michael and I joked around a lot but during one discussion about my food journaling (or lack thereof), he looked at me and calmly said, “You know what you need to do.”  I knew I was standing in my own way.

January 2011 – 55 lbs lost!

Two months later, after a long discussion with my sister, Laura, we decided that we would begin Weight Watchers together.  We were both ready to make changes in our lives and that meant getting the food under control.  We went to our first meeting on January 11, 2011 and it was one of the best things that we’ve both ever done for ourselves!  My average loss has been slow but I have learned many things about myself along the way. I have been extremely reflective during my journey and I am focusing on finding balance and making true changes in my life that will not only help me get to my goal, but ensure that I stay there once I do! Am I glad I started a year ago?  Absolutely!  
Just look at the difference!

Like you, I am going through this journey right now.  I’m well acquainted with the negative self-talk, the embarrassment and the excuses that come with being overweight.  I have lived with the doubt, the struggles and the damage it does to your confidence and self-esteem on a daily basis.  I’ve heard the whispers and the assumptions of laziness or “simple” lack of willpower.  Oh if it were only that simple, right?!  I’ve had to listen to well-meaning people who’ve never had a weight problem lecture me on how I should go about losing my weight.

But, more importantly, I know what it feels like to start to believe in yourself again and I know what it feels like to have had that “click” in your brain that says “I AM worth it!” and “I don’t belong in this body any more!”  I also understand how important it is to have the support of someone (or thousands of others!) going through the same thing and/or with someone who believes in you…even when you don’t.

So if you’ve been on the fence…or you need a gentle push back into action, go to www.411Fit.com today and register. It’s free for individuals. Start today!

If you’re a trainer or a health coach, 411Fit just launched a new coaching dashboard to help you track your clients more easily and with greater interaction. The best part? They’re offering 45 days free! Click here to learn more or sign up today!